It helps to have a positive mindset, especially in a crisis or trying time, since those with a negative mindset crumble quickly. But even optimism and some values have their limits, especially if the related (undesirable) circumstances stretches longer than one’s optimism.
In junior college, I used to attend these tuition classes. In my batch, were these two buddies from another college. I had become friends with them. One of them was a smoker, and I’d often see the other friend try to reason with him with a real sincerity, to quit smoking. On one or two occasions, when only the non-smoker friend was around, I’d ask him how confident he was of getting his friend to quit smoking. He was very certain about it, and it was reassuring to see the power of friendship.
There was a gap of a few months before I met them again during that year. And it was perhaps the last time I met them, during the preparatory tests before the year and the tuition class ended. And when I met them, I saw something I had not factored in. The non-smoker was smoking outside the building.
Similarly, I’ve seen friends and relatives languish in jobs they hate, simply because their optimism was regularly fed with hope from their boss, about a promotion or increment or the glorious career path that lay ahead.
So if pessimism isn’t desirable, and if optimism has its limits, or can be harmful, what could be an alternative?
How about if we simply focused on being efficient? That way, we might be almost equally prepared for both scenarios (good and bad), while working toward the best direction in the best way we can.
This obviously isn’t some breakthrough finding. Think about notable individuals in your life. There’s a good chance they are neither pessimistic nor overflowing with optimism. They keep their emotions in check, focusing on doing the best, in the best way they can. Undeterred by outcomes or people’s fickle opinions.